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Stop flogging this dead gag

Skills minister Ivan Lewis recently used an FE conference speech to tell delegates the definition of "partnership" - that most over-used of terms - is "the suppression of mutual loathing in the pursuit of government money".

Sadly, the joke is getting a little tired - and has now, surely, been heard by everyone on the conference circuit.

Even Paul Mackney, general secretary of Natfhe, has used it - and he's got plenty of his own material.

Colin Flint, former principal of Solihull college and now with the National Institute of Adult and Continuing Education, insists he first used the line at a Further Education Development Agency conference in 1998.

FErret does not know if anyone out there lays claim to earlier authorship.

But, all of you, get some new material.

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